The modalities of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and Thailand are likely to be finalised by next week; it is learnt here Tuesday. According to sources, the Thai officials are expected to visit Pakistan by next week to finalise the modalities of FTA with Pakistani authorities.

They said that Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts & Accessories Manufacturers (PAAPAM), which opposed inclusion of auto sector in Pak-Thai FTA, had been approached by the ministry of commerce to relinquish its concerns and hail the said development. However, the PAAPAM in its recent letter sent to the minister commerce and secretary commerce reiterated its stance, saying that inclusion of auto sector in any FTA would discredit the government and scare away massive investments in the pipeline

Meanwhile, Chairman PAAPAM, Mashood Ali Khan said that the Auto Development Policy (ADP) was an authentic document that governed the future policy for the auto sector. He termed FTA as incomprehensible, saying that that it would shut down the entire auto parts industry as FTA would reduce customs duties to zero percent for localised parts. For non-localised parts, FTA duties would deprive the exchequer of huge sums of tax revenues and also eliminate the potential of future localisation of CKD parts.

He further said that PAAPAM found no merit for inclusion of the automobile sector in the Pak-Thai FTA negotiation and urged the government to completely exclude the auto industry from the ongoing negotiations with the Thai government. He said that PAAPAM had requested the government not to take any sans granting PAAPAM a hearing opportunity to present their rationale & justifications in this connection.

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